Caring about your brother  or sister is an important act, in fact in another tradition related by Muslim, the Prophet peace be upon him reminded us that we should not degrade even the smallest good deeds, even if that is smiling in the face of your brother or sister. 

We should do our best to strengthen these bonds through calling, visiting, spending time with each other doing good works, laughing, supporting, being patient, being grateful, sharing, going without personally for the sake of our brother or sister, encouraging them to do what is right and encouraging them to stay away from wrong doing, hosting them, listening to their problems, speaking the truth to them, defending their honour (in an appropriate manner), helping them to solve their problems, giving gifts, making duas for them and anticipating their needs and facilitating them before they need to ask us.

How many of us have been stung by the pain of broken relationships, hurt because of the way we were treated or mis-treated, feeling the absence of care of our brothers or sisters? Sometimes we neglect to see the pain we too have caused others by our arrogance and actions.

There have been limits placed on us when we disagree that we are only allowed to not speak to each other for three days and no more. After which, the person who approaches and says “salaam” first will gain more reward in the sight of God. This is because one of the things that Shaitan gains most pleasure in, is coming between two people who love each other for the sake of God.  This is because when we are alone, we are weaker and become an easier target for Shaitan.

When this love is strong, it is not easy to create distance between the hearts.  So Shaitan will try in smaller ways, it will start by missing a phone call, being too busy in work one day or week, and slowly it will become more and more until the distance that is created becomes great.

In western culture, sadly, we tend to place more value on relationships between women. We think it is normal for sisters/women to spend time with each other, stay in touch and be more connected. This is not often seen as a masculine trait. Instead, it is manlier not to be in touch and to leave the social networking to wives, mothers and sisters.  Men make excuses and continue to think it is ok to do so. However this could not be further away from the truth of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and was demonstrated most visibly in his friendship with Abu Bakr (may God be pleased with him). If we think about it, it is a social truth of the ritual of prayer in congregation as well.

In our community too,  sometimes we become very close to the people we spend time doing community work with. We learn and study with them and our love for them is quite strong. However, the moment that person is not present or cannot participate with us in those same activities, we lose contact. And while some measure of this is to be expected, it is almost as if the only thing we valued the person for was the work they could do and it was not a relationship of love for them for the sake of Allah. True love would see those relationships be maintained in some way despite this.

This Ramadan let us look at our friends; what do they call us to? Are they the kind of friends who will encourage us to do our best and become better people? Let us examine the kind of brothers and sisters we are to each other. Are our relationships one of convenience, when we only see or speak to people when we need them to do something and nothing more? Do we take time to let our brothers and sisters know we truly care or do we take them for granted? What happens if “later” (when you plan to call or visit or check up on them) never comes because Allah calls them back to Him, is it worth the regret?

In short brothers and sisters, when it comes to your duty as a brother or sister,  do you make an effort or do you make excuses?